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Swedish Man Fined For Posting Links To Online Video Feeds 252

Posted by timothy
from the you-can't-do-that dept.
hcs_$reboot writes with a snippet from TechDirt (citing TorrentFreak): "Over in Sweden, it appears that a guy has been fined for linking to an online broadcast of a hockey game. We've heard stories of people getting in trouble merely for linking to unauthorized content, but this story is even more ridiculous. The guy wasn't linking to unauthorized content. He was linking to an online video feed from the official broadcaster, Canal Plus. The issue was that Canal Plus was apparently technically incompetent in how they set up the feeds, and never intended to make the feeds public."
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Swedish Man Fined For Posting Links To Online Video Feeds

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:05AM (#34296884)

    If something is on the internet, then doesn't that implicitly authorize access?

    • by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:15AM (#34296920) Homepage

      Some even ask you to pay to view their public content, or else they will sue. http://news.slashdot.org/news/10/10/27/2134236.shtml [slashdot.org]

      • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:29AM (#34296974)

        Sounds reasonable to me. You're using up their bandwidth, and if you don't give them your money, they are losing out on profit that they could, potentially, have had! Do you enjoy hurting people who would have been better off had you given them all of your money (and since you didn't, you stole their potential profit)?

      • by kainosnous (1753770) <kainosnous@lavabit.com> on Sunday November 21, 2010 @09:03AM (#34297460) Homepage

        I miss the day when computers were for people who could think. I fondly remember that very brief period where businesses hadn't learned how to exploit the web. For the most part, it was a novelty to them and the left it to the nerds. Sure, at that point the web was a lot of top 10 lists and novelty polls, and most pages had a guest book to sign and a view counter, but that's how we liked it. I'm sure it's all through rose colored glasses, but at least I don't believe we had lawsuits like this.

      • you mean, same as publishers make you pay for books with public-domain texts ? Now, why would anyone on earth to that... oh, wait, you mean there's cost associated with publishing stuff ? you don't say !

        • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @10:51AM (#34297978) Homepage

          "you mean, same as publishers make you pay for books with public-domain texts ? Now, why would anyone on earth to that... oh, wait, you mean there's cost associated with publishing stuff ? you don't say !"

          Absolutely. One of those costs is rent for a bookstore, and the cost of security measures. If they didn't want people accessing it for free, then they should not have made it publicly available. They could have used SSL, and enforced proper authorization and authentication, but they didn't do that. If I leave my stuff out on the street unprotected, how is someone supposed to know that I will consider it stealing if someone picks it up and takes it home? Do you really think that the police will actually take me seriously when I try to file a theft claim?

          • you've got to define "make available", because right now, your definition is "if you can take it, it's right to do so", which does not jive.

            to me, if the hacker could not possibly have ignored the stuff was not free for all, the case is clear. kinda like it's NOT because my kid nephew's trolley or my bike are unattended in front of a shop that you can/should take them ? and BTW, I do expect police to treat me seriously if ever they get stolen ?

            • Your biggest error is in not recognizing that your analogy isn't even close to appropriate. My error was trying to use your phenomenally broken analogy to help you see that. Welcome to the Internet. It is completely different than meatspace (e.g. an unlocked door absolutely does mean access is granted.)
              • so, if i can hack into your bank account, or your bank's systems, and wire myself all your money, it's a case of finders' keepers' ?

                • Of course not, because - unlike the case we are talking about - you would get an access denied error when you tried to access my account. By your own admission, you cannot get to my bank account without cracking the auth, because they have implemented security measures. Is it really that hard for you to understand that, on the Internet, no security measures means granted access? This is not complicated, and it is nothing new either. The default allow paradigm has been in place since day one of the web.
    • by Aeternitas827 (1256210) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:18AM (#34296928)
      If it's unprotected, as seems to be the case here, then that would be the reasonable assumption.

      The provider didn't seem to take steps to ensure that their streams couldn't be gotten at by unpaid subscribers--I'd guess that a party so inclined could probably brute-forced URL attempts if they even had a blink at the structure, and gotten in--and got bitten a little bit. Honestly, more their fault, than his.

      This begs a second question...was the party who brought suit merely someone who had license to broadcast, or the rights holder for the broadcast? If the former, then I would think this just a farce, because the rights-holder could come around on the license-holder for being incompetent...if the latter, then this is a problem of their own creation; if he found a URL, without ever having been made aware of the Terms of Service or whatnot, it's innocent infringment...in my opinion.
      • by dnaumov (453672) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:24AM (#34297336)

        If it's unprotected, as seems to be the case here, then that would be the reasonable assumption.

        To play devil's advocate: the fact that I didn't lock my front door is not a reasonable assumption that I am inviting you to enter my apartment.

        • by JustOK (667959) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:28AM (#34297352) Journal

          no, but it's a reason why your insurance claim won't be paid.

          • by Kumiorava (95318)

            sure, but the person who took the stuff will be fined or jailed for stealing.

            • by JustOK (667959)

              and, in most cases, you will still not have your stuff back.

        • The convicted man in this case just pointed out your door is unlocked to everyone. It doesn't seem like a crime.
        • by Klinky (636952) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @09:30AM (#34297592)

          Client/Server works this way. Client requests data, server can grant or not grant access to said data. It's like having a stranger coming up to you and nicely asking(without malice or threats) if you'd like to give them something(money, cellphone, newspaper, the time, etc..) you can say "yes or no". The server granted these people access without them breaking the law. The server could almost be viewed as an extension of the company or under license from the company to make these decisions to stream or not stream. If they had a password on the stream and people cracked it or multiple people were sharing an account authorized for only one stream, then yes that would be against the rules. If it is a public stream going out to anyone who asks, it's pretty much fair game.

          • by dogmatixpsych (786818) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @10:26AM (#34297832) Homepage Journal
            And that's why the example dnaumov posted about leaving your house door unlocked is wrong. This is like you said. It's like this example: the door was unlocked but this man asked if he could enter and someone with power of attorney for the owner said "Yes." Then he asked, "Hey, can I let other people in too?" The response again was, "Yes." You hit the nail on the head, the client does ask for permission. If the owner wants things private, they need to make sure the response to entering is "No". That's their problem to solve.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mounthood (993037)

            If they had a password on the stream and people cracked it or multiple people were sharing an account authorized for only one stream, then yes that would be against the rules.

            So in your interpretation "the rules" are whatever a non-governmental organization says they are? We need legal vs. illegal to be clearly defined by government, not ad-hoc rules by each server operator.

            The technology makes a few rules simple, clear and universal:

            * Anyone can request any URL.

            * It's the server's responsibility to secure content.

            * Any content served is public, unless it has restrictions in-force.

            I think people want to say something like "if you break a lock or do anything tricky, then that's

        • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @09:44AM (#34297668) Journal

          BUT if you leave your garden hose running and pooring out into the street, you can't expect the police to arrest the walker by who lets his dog drink from it.

          This guy did NOT break in or walk in to your house.

          If you have the windows open, then you can't expect people walking by not to look in.

        • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @10:10AM (#34297772)

          If it's unprotected, as seems to be the case here, then that would be the reasonable assumption.

          To play devil's advocate: the fact that I didn't lock my front door is not a reasonable assumption that I am inviting you to enter my apartment.

          If you left your curtains open and someone saw a video playing on your TV, should he be fined for letting his friends know they could see it through your window?

          • by hedwards (940851)
            That's stupid, according to ASCAP the answer would be yes. I mean they are the ones that think it's OK to fine people for having their radio on where somebody else can hear it. So logically I see no reason why they would object to extending the logic to seeing TV.

            And don't forget that the sports broadcasters think they have the right to restrict viewing to TVs of a certain size and own the rights to the scores and accounts of the games beyond just the specific recordings.
        • by jelizondo (183861)

          The Internet is like a public park, you are free to wander anywhere unless it is locked down or a notice posted saying "Keep out the grass."

          It sounds like they not only didn't lock the door, they forgot to put a door in the first place.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You analogy is flawed. Websites by default grant access, and is largely unrestricted at least in terms of visiting. I mean, you don't second guess coming onto Slashdot or click on any link, and thinking "omg, this is a for pay site that I'm getting free!" I certainly don't.

          The correct analogy is:
          You invited the guest in and said, "Hey, feel free to take a look around." Then the guy goes into your master bedroom and rummages through your box of vibrators and other sex toys.

          Then you sue him for invading

          • the invited guest is in the living room, and spins in a circle slowly looking at everything he can see.

            he takes out a laser pointer, and shows the other guests in the party, if you look right HERE
            you can see people having sex off the reflection of that mirror on that wall.

            they are in the living room, and it's visible from there-- you just need to know how to be observant, or have someone show you the way.

        • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @11:07AM (#34298090) Homepage

          "To play devil's advocate: the fact that I didn't lock my front door is not a reasonable assumption that I am inviting you to enter my apartment."

          If your "house" is a website on the net, and the stuff they "took" is still there when they are done, than it absolutely should be expected. For some reason when I "break in" and "take stuff" from millions of other websites, they don't even notice or care (save that they encourage it in most cases.)

        • Opening a closed door to enter someone else's residence is breaking and entering whether or not the door was locked. A closed door means, ask before entering, and even if you ask to enter and are given permission it doesn't mean you can walk out with the family silver.

          if the door is open it's simply trespassing.

          This sounds like neither to me. The guy's computer asked if it could come in, the server said yes, come on in. THe guy's computer asked if it could please stream the content, the server said yes a

          • by lgw (121541)

            While I agree with your conclusion, the guy's computer can't ask any relevent question about access, as it's not a moral entity. All that matters is "would a reasonable person believe this data was meant for public consumption". The technical details don't enter in to it, only the common web user's perceptions of normal access.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's like this. A web server is like an (android) shopkeeper at your door. People can ask it for all kinds of things, and the keepr will give it to them or not. It can answer things like:

          "404, sorry, I don't have that sir"

          "403, sorry, that's not for sale"

          "30X, try the store down the road!"

          or even

          "200 OK, here you go sir!"

          If I ask the shopkeeper to give me something, and the shopkeeper says "200 OK, here you go" and actually gives me that thing, how the heck am I supposed to know any better?

        • by forsey (1136633)
          People DO normally allow you to surf their website if it is unlocked. People DO NOT normally allow you to walk into their house uninvited if it is unlocked. I think this is a case where "reasonable expectation" applies.
        • by AK Marc (707885)
          On the Internet, someone has to "ask" for something from the server, then the server actively returns a result. It's like someone rings your doorbell and the door opens and a large "open" sign turns on. And yes, that does give a reasonable assumption that they were invited in. He didn't break in. He politely asked the server for the information at that URL, and the server happily served it up, as it would to anyone else on the planet who asked. That is not just implicit permission, that's explicit perm
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PRMan (959735)

        A commenter in the original article has it right.

        It's like a paid swimming pool having a back door that's completely open where you could walk in and have a free swim.

        The guy who is being sued in this case is not the guy who had a free swim, but the guy who said, "Hey, the back door is open at that swimming pool."

        • are you sure the people clicking the links knew they were hacked ? If I sneak into a pool via the back door, I know I'm cheating. If I click on a link... not so clear, depends on context.

    • by Xugumad (39311) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:19AM (#34296936)

      No.

      If they linked it from their front page, and said "View the game here", that's implicitly authorising access. If it was hidden behind a badly done pay wall, I think it fairly clearly implies you should be paying first, even if the technical side is a debacle.

      Leaving something unprotected is no more implying access than leaving your front door open. It's bloody stupid, but that's another matter entirely...

      • If it was hidden behind a badly done pay wall, I think it fairly clearly implies you should be paying first, even if the technical side is a debacle.... leaving something unprotected is no more implying access than leaving your front door open. It's bloody stupid, but that's another matter entirely...

        Anything on the internet that is reachable without security is public by definition. Doesn't matter if it was also 'behind' a paywall; it it could be reached by a straightforward url without going through the paywall, then it was public. And it is a false analogy to compare it to the front door of a private house; it was a business website that invited access, even if it only wanted paying access. Using the locked door analogy, it is as if a pay to view facility (a cinema or museum say) had a pay counter o

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Xugumad (39311)
          # zgrep -i phpmyadmin access_log-20101101.bz2
          62.8.65.3 - - [24/Aug/2010:09:47:41 +0100] "GET //phpmyadmin/config/config.inc.php?p=phpinfo(); HTTP/1.1" 404 1063 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98)"
          62.8.65.3 - - [24/Aug/2010:09:47:43 +0100] "GET //PHPMYADMIN/config/config.inc.php?p=phpinfo(); HTTP/1.1" 404 1063 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98)"
          62.8.65.3 - - [24/Aug/2010:09:47:44 +0100] "GET //phpMyAdmin/config/config.inc.php?p=phpinfo(); HTTP/1.1" 404 1063 "-" "Mozilla/4.0
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dnahelicase (1594971)

        No.

        If they linked it from their front page, and said "View the game here", that's implicitly authorising access. If it was hidden behind a badly done pay wall, I think it fairly clearly implies you should be paying first, even if the technical side is a debacle.

        Leaving something unprotected is no more implying access than leaving your front door open. It's bloody stupid, but that's another matter entirely...

        It's not really another matter entirely, but one of crucial importance to the case. Did the guy that posted the link pay for access to it? What was he allowed to do with that information? Did they explicitly state in their terms somewhere that he can't post the link, which is open to the internet, once he paid to get access to it? There has to be some rational burden put on the content owners to protect their content from unauthorized access.

        This guy didn't subvert the system by "hacking" or "stealing

    • If something is on the internet, then doesn't that implicitly authorize access?

      I hope not, my girlfriend is on the internet in the evenings.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:16AM (#34296924)

    A map provider sold subscriptions. However their system was a joke. After logging in you would get a URL to the map you wanted. You could pass this URL to non-subscribers and it would work. The map company then sued some real estate company that gave those links to its clients for copyright infringement ... and won.

    Security-by-law-suit is the new security-by-obscurity.

    • by thewiz (24994) *

      I'm surprised that the map company won a case on infringement. If I protected my website like the map company did ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbWg-mozGsU [youtube.com] ), I'd expect my website to be pwn3d rather quickly.

    • isn't that the nerd equivalent of "might makes right" ? To me the question is not whether you can hack something, but whether you can do the hack, or just use an existing hack, entirely without knowing you're stealing stuff. Rarely the case for hackers, sometimes the case for users.

      I see nothing wrong with having to pay for maps ? actually, I see a lot wrong with wanting to watch sports broadcasts, but that's another issue ^^

    • except that according to your article it kinda work

  • Didn't that Swedish judge use to star in the Muppet Show before he became a judge?
  • Damn it Sweden! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GF678 (1453005) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:27AM (#34296968)

    There used to be a time when you'd be able to read a story like this, shake your head, smirk and say/think to yourself: "Only in America".

    Now, unfortunately, it's no-longer the case you can make that generalization. The whole world's gone crazy...

    • Re:Damn it Sweden! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:36AM (#34296994)

      I guess the whole Pirate Bay issue introduced them to the wonderful world of corporate bribery.

      We got a suitable saying around here, along the lines of: once your reputation is ruined, you might as well lose all restraint.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LongearedBat (1665481)

        I guess the whole Pirate Bay issue introduced them to the wonderful world of corporate bribery.

        I like many aspects of US culture, but I do wish the US would stop spreading all aspects of its culture to the rest of the world.
        (That's meant as a joke, not flamebait. Well, perhaps it's not entirely a joke...)

    • That's a horrifying generalization. You do realize Sweden used to do forced sterilization of retards and undesireables here up to the late 1950s? It was only formally abolished in 1975, and there had been cases before that where people who where only "a bit slow" (what would now be called ADHD) was incarcerated and told they would be let go if they agreed to sterilization. All to create a pure society, free from weakness.
      • Re:Damn it Sweden! (Score:5, Informative)

        by HungryHobo (1314109) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:46AM (#34297194)

        the United States was the first country to concertedly undertake compulsory sterilization programs for the purpose of eugenics.
        In general, most sterilizations were performed under eugenic statutes, in state-run psychiatric hospitals and homes for the mentally disabled.
        over 65,000 individuals were sterilized in 33 states under state compulsory sterilization programs in the United States
        though a significant number of sterilizations continued in a few states until the early 1960s
        The Oregon Board of Eugenics, later renamed the Board of Social Protection, existed until 1983, with the last forcible sterilization occurring in 1981.

        And on a related note the US as late as 1972 poor black men were used in a completely crazy experiment to see how bad their symptoms would get if they weren't told they had syphilis and weren't treated.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment [wikipedia.org]

        As late as the 1950's the UK still chemically castrated gay people.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing [wikipedia.org]

      • Re:Damn it Sweden! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by pla (258480) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:57AM (#34297432) Journal
        You do realize Sweden used to do forced sterilization of retards and undesireables here up to the late 1950s? It was only formally abolished in 1975[...] All to create a pure society, free from weakness.

        Of course, the funny thing about that?

        It largely worked - They have one of the happiest, healthiest, most attractive nations on the frickin' planet (the present fallout of US bullying notwithstanding).

        When trying to make eugenics look like a monstrosity, you'd do better not to point out its successes.
      • ADHD doesn't make people "a bit slow". ADHD makes people poorly focused. People with ADHD daydream, fidget, and sometimes fail to pay attention at important moments. Typically, someone with ADHD has an average to very high IQ. Someone who is "a bit slow" likely has mild mental retardation or just happens to be on the wrong slope of the bell curve. Plenty of people with ADHD learn and remember concepts and facts very quickly and test well over those facts, but forget to do busywork or are caught daydreaming

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pharmboy (216950)

      There used to be a time when you'd be able to read a story like this, shake your head, smirk and say/think to yourself: "Only in America".

      Stupid laws are one of our biggest exports here in the States. When it comes to generating laws that protect corporations at the expense of consumers, the US is the world leader.

  • Arrggh! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mathinker (909784) * on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:53AM (#34297046) Journal

    It's things like this which will make it so much more likely that I would bother to post such a link in the future --- after firing up Tor, of course!

    Without the constant whining of Big Content getting on my nerves (and ruining the legal system), I probably wouldn't bother.

  • The only way the court could reach such a poor decision would be through bad legal arguments and a lack of understanding of how the world wide web works. Hopefully he'll get a better lawyer who can explain the culture of link sharing on the internet, how the system relies on it (pagerank etc) and how every other content provider as a matter of course will put a paywall in front of a link so that when he shares it with his friends its more revenue for them. Something about chilling effects would probably not

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Securityemo (1407943)
      The thing is, in the real world, you can expect to have the protection of the law even for objects that are out in the open. This does not translate very well to the net, where "the only laws are assembler and RFCs.", but in theory the same things should apply, right? There's also the power discrepancy. Many people here might fail to realize that they're actually wielding a fair bit of power over something that seems *utterly* arbitary and incomprehensible to normal people. "But why should we take the fall
  • Remind me to never visit Sweden. They have some really stupid laws.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Khenke (710763)

      It's not the laws that are flawed, it's our judges in the courts.
      A good lawyer can tweak any country's law to prove anything, it's the judges role to keep em in control.

      The Swedish judges have over the last year broken the constitution over and over and over, and no one care.
      It has gone so far that yes I do think they are bribed. Either with money or power (fast track to higher positions).

      But the worst thing is that no one (almost no one) cares. If I tell people that the judges break the constitution they d

  • by paiute (550198) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:32AM (#34297362)

    But honestly Canal Plus, the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole hockey game and put some other team's name on it!

  • So Google can be fined as well as they do the same thing give you links.

  • I don't really want to defend this, but it brought up another situation in my mind that seems similar.

    Lets say there is a concert at on private property. There is a gate where tickets are sold for entry. They have a barbed wire fence around the area to keep non paying people from entering, but a section has fallen over. Would it be illegal to guide people though the hole in the fence to watch the concert without paying?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Overzeetop (214511)

      You're misinformed about how the internet works. The requesting browser _asks_ for content based on a URL. The server provides that content based on the permissions set in the server.

      Imagine if you hired a security firm to work the gate at your private party, and told them that you had a bunch of people coming the party, but to only let those people in who came to the gate and asked to come in.

      People you didn't know came to the gate, asked to get in, and YOUR security firm let them in based on your instru

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